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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Banned Books - Rodems: Home

Banned Books - Assignment Details

Due Dates:     Proposal to Read (40): 10pm Tuesday, November 16th to Compass

Recorded Book Talk Due (60): 10pm Tuesday December 7th

Evaluation (80): Finals Class period (see schedule below)

Total points 180 points


For your first major research project, you will be dealing with challenged and/or banned books. In this unit, you will research a book that has been banned or challenged somewhere at some time—the challenge could have happened 50 years ago or 5 years ago. The possibilities are vast, although some banned books will be off limits, those too sophisticated or too simplistic: the choice has to be age-appropriate. You will also need to choose a book that you have never read before.   

Each of you will become an expert on a challenged book. You will want to consider several questions: Why was the book challenged? By whom? What restrictions were the challengers seeking? What case was made against the book? How did others in the community/country/world react? What did the "experts" think about the challenge? Was the challenge successful? Class time and library help will be given to your research.

Proposal: Once you know the story of the challenge and the book, you will write proposal to your parents explaining the background of the book, including a history of the challenge and issues involved, and discuss the choice with them. You will ask them to acknowledge and approve your choice. Should they refuse, you must either begin again—under some serious time constraints—or revise your proposal to make it acceptable to your parents.

Having researched the case involving the book and gotten permission to read the work, you will need to secure a copy of the book immediately, either through a library, purchase, or a friend. We will have a few days of class time set aside for reading. Given the time constraints, I suggest you chose a book that is not overly lengthy for your reading pace. READ EXTENDED Proposal explanation below when it’s time to begin this portion of the project.

Book Talk: Once you have read the novel, you will record a 3-4 minute book talk about your novel.

Don’t give away the ending, provide the basic information about the characters, setting, and plot, in your own words based on your reading of the novel.     

Evaluation: Lastly, you will evaluate the case against the book and offer your "expert" opinion on the value of the book and its challenge. Were the arguments against the book valid or not? Why?  READ EXTENDED Evaluation explanation below when it’s time to begin this portion of the project.  


Documentation: MLA format. In preparation for this documentation, you will need to keep careful, accurate, and thorough notes of any source you consult, on-line or off. Both the Proposal and the Evaluation will need in-text documentation and a "Works Cited" area at the end. Some class time will be devoted to all of this, but you should depend heavily on the MLA Handbook and Noodle Tool.